Ministry of Health COVID-19 Update February 5, 2021

COVID-19 Daily Release 5 February 2021

Good day.

The Ministry of Health received 351 test results since the last update, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Additionally, since the last update, there were no recoveries.

There are currently ten active cases, of which;

•   Six are under public health monitoring and;

•   Four are in hospital with none in critical care.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 692 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 670 persons have recovered, and 12 persons have sadly succumbed to COVID-19.

The mean age of all confirmed positive cases is 43 years (median: 40 years), and the ages range from less than one year to greater than 100 years.

The mean age of all currently active cases is 55 years (median: 50 years), and the ages range from less than 30 years (age group: 20-29 years) to greater than 80 years (age group: 80-100 years).

Age information will not be provided on the hospitalised cases, to protect privacy and confidentiality.

The mean age of all deceased cases is 75 years (median: 77 years), and the ages range from less than 60 years (age group: 50-59 years) to greater than 80 years (age group: 80-100 years).

The source of all cases is as follows:

•   200 are imported

•   490 are classified as local transmission of which:

•   400 are local transmission with known contact/source and

•   90 are local transmission with an unknown contact/source

•   Two are under investigation

Of the over 160,000 test results reported, the mean age of all persons tested is 43 years (median:  42 years), and the ages range from less than one year to greater than 100 years.

The seven-day average of our real-time reproduction number is less than one, and Bermuda’s current country status remains “Sporadic Cases”.

The Ministry of Health strongly urges all residents, and especially those who may not have decided to get the vaccine as of yet, to read the factual information that is on the Government website – www.gov.bm/vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine was tested in the Phase 3 trials on nearly 45, 000 people, much bigger than most drug trials and the results show that this is an effective and safe vaccine.  We do not know how long immunity lasts because the vaccine is new researchers cannot yet measure the full length of time.  What we do know that it is 95% effective in preventing serious disease if a person is exposed to the coronavirus.

“In December 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. In order to issue an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) the FDA must receive a request based on Phase 3 clinical efficacy trial. The Phase 3 trials are administered to thousands of people in broad demographic groups and randomized controlled studies,” stated the Minister of Health, Kim Wilson.

“There also needs to be adequate manufacturing information to ensure consistency and quality. EUAs are not issued without rigour. This means the FDA has authorized the vaccine’s use in the United States to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has also been approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, in Canada by Health Canada, in Europe by the European Medicines Agency, in Singapore by the Health Sciences Authority and by the World Health Organisation.”

“Additionally, there is new information coming out daily. In fact, there was a report issued earlier today outlining the success of the Vaccination programme in Israel, a country where over one-third of the population has already received vaccination against COVID-19. There is now evidence that the vaccination programme there is having a real and significant impact with research analysis finding that COVID-19 cases have declined dramatically with the older residents who were first to receive the vaccine. The effect is especially pronounced in hospital admissions: among people aged over 60, severe hospital cases have fallen by 26% since their peak on January 19th.

“Bermuda’s national COVID-19 vaccination strategy has as its primary priority for the COVID-19 vaccination programme the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health care workers, essential workers and social care staff and systems. Secondary priorities include vaccination of those at increased risk of hospitalisation, at increased risk of exposure, and to maintain resilience in public services.”

“Globally, vaccines save millions of lives each year and prevent countless more from contracting a variety of viral diseases. Indeed, the only human disease ever to be eradicated (Smallpox) was by vaccination. After clean water and good sanitation, vaccination is the single most important action an individual can take to protect themselves and their loved ones and this has never been more important as we seek to reduce the social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 onslaught.”

Premier, the Hon E. David Burt addressing this issue advised, “This vaccine is 95% effective in preventing serious disease from a coronavirus infection. People should speak to their own medical doctor for advice instead of listening to talk radio. It is unfortunate that there are many in the community that wish to discourage persons from making a decision that should be between them and their doctor. I am grateful that the vast majority of local doctors have taken the vaccine and have encouraged their patients to do so too, as they trust science.”

“Around the world, black people have worse health outcomes than whites, why, as they have less access to healthcare. In Bermuda, our goal is to ensure that all people are protected from a disease that has seen 12 residents, mostly black people, die. If current vaccination trends in Bermuda hold, black persons will be far more likely to develop serious diseases if exposed to the coronavirus as their vaccination rates significantly trail the white population.

“In Bermuda, we do not control or muzzle the media, so people are welcome to publish and broadcast their opinions. Sadly the outcome of less black people getting vaccinated will be the increased likelihood of more black people dying. So I ask people to speak to their actual local doctor and not make this important decision by listening to a doctor from overseas on the radio.”

For information on vaccines and how the COVID-19 vaccination will be administered, as well as frequently asked questions on the vaccine, visitwww.gov.bm/vaccines.

The COVID-19 vaccination registration form will be temporarily offline after 6 pm, 4 February 2021, to allow for enhancements. The form will be available on Monday, 8 February 2021, at 8 am.